A Return To Routine After A Strange Week

It’s so nice to get back to what I can only hope to be a normal day tomorrow. This past week was pretty surreal, and it honestly stretched to about nine days, from last Sunday through today. It’s been a most unusual stretch of days.

Of course, the craziness started last Sunday with the threat of winter weather. Add to that my grandmother’s stroke that evening just as the snow began to fall. It definitely didn’t help to have the snow and ice that kept the whole family inside for pretty much all of five days (with occasional trips out). My sister, brother-in-law, nieces, and I all camped out at my parents’ house all week to save on heating and having to walk up and down the hill.

Then Hadley (my 19 month old niece) burned her hand on my parents’ pellet stove Tuesday night, causing an anguished, painful night for her. She got up Wednesday morning, and hit the ground running, not missing a beat, despite blisters, and later a big bandage on her hand. My sister and mom were able to take her to the doctor on Thursday morning. Continue reading A Return To Routine After A Strange Week

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Happiness? Or Joy?

This week, I interviewed a pastor for our local paper. We talked about the Christmas season and about how some people struggle emotionally this time of year. He made a statement that was certainly not original to him (I’ve even said it myself before, just not about Christmas), but it resonated with me. He said, “Christmas isn’t always a time of happiness for everyone, but it should be a time of joy.”

Throughout my life, I’ve become keenly aware of the difference between happiness and joy. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our emotions, and in doing so, rely on happiness to sustain us instead of joy. But there are clear differences between the two, and we have to know them.

  • Happiness is based on current circumstances. Joy is based on long-term, even eternal fulfillment.
  • Happiness is transient. Joy is permanent.
  • Happiness is fragile. Joy is solid.
  • Happiness must be fed and is never truly satisfied. Joy sustains itself.
  • Happiness can deceive you. Joy is always true.
  • Happiness is a feeling. Joy is a state of mind.

Do you find yourself chasing after happiness? Or do you look for (or already have) joy? There’s a difference. And once you know that difference and build your life around joy, you’ll see things in a whole new way.

 

So…Here’s What’s Going On…

Yesterday I had the pleasure and privilege of sharing with Mark Waltz from Granger Community Church about what God is doing at Eastridge. Here’s how it went down: after posting something on Twitter about the positive changes at ECC, Mark responded saying he wanted to talk about it in detail with me. It took us weeks to coordinate our schedules, but it was worth it.

I started out sharing a bit of our history and recounting some of the struggles of the last couple of years. Then, as I started sharing what God is doing, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy at what is taking place at ECC. By the end of the conversation, I couldn’t contain my gratefulness to God for using Eastridge as He has. We’re coming up on 20 years of Eastridge, and I recently celebrated five years on staff. I’ve never been as excited as I have been lately at what He’s doing…not even in the early days when everything was an adventure.

In the midst of the joy and excitement, I’m truly humbled by what God is doing.